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Kobe Bryant:Emotional night for the Lakers and Los Angeles




Quiet moments of an emotional night for the Lakers and Los Angeles

 

 

There has never been an NBA game like the one at the Staples Center on Friday between the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers. Five days have passed since the Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven other people died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. With the Lakers demanding that the match be rescheduled for Tuesday with the LA Clippers, this was Lakers’ first opportunity to honor Bryant in their home arena.

The Lakers lost 127-119, but the night was full of comfort and catharsis – from a speech before the game of LeBron James to a decisive performance by Damian Lillard with 48 points and 10 assistants. These were quiet moments of an emotional evening.

 

 The staples of the center seats are empty four hours before the start of bathing, with the exception of almost 19,000 Lakers t-shirts thrown over each chair – half with number 24, half with number 8. The light in the house is turned off. On the center court, one spotlight illuminates the Los Angeles Philharmonic cellist Ben Hong, who sits on a bench in a black shirt and trousers and rehearses a beautiful performance of Hallelujah. Directly above him on the video card is a tribute to Bryant. 

 High in the rafters, in the far corner, where the Lakers jerseys hang, Bryant’s numbers are flooded with purple light. A scoreboard and clock with the inscription 24.2 is a tribute to the numbers of Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Jannah.

Ten minutes later, “Ko-be! Live where thousands of people gather. The air is filled with scented candles that have been burning since Sunday. Wherever you go, a message is written for kobe Bryant.

The space is full, but strangers apologize if they collide with each other. They share stories about watching Bryant’s play. On the LED screens is a photograph of Kobe Bryant.

Kobe Bryant  and Gianna smiling from their seats in the front row at a basketball game. The text reads: “Rest in Peace, Kobe and Gianna Bryant”, as well as the names of seven other victims of the helicopter crash: John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alissa Altobelli,

Kobe Bryant

In the arena, preparations continue.Two hours before the scheduled end of the meeting, the team official walks to two unoccupied seats at the entrance directly opposite the Lakers bench and throws Kobe Bryant  Lakers uniforms No. 24 on top of one, and Mamba Academy jersey No. 2 on the other. Another official tells a pair of nearby guards that they should not leave their posts unless someone releases them.

 Along with T-shirts, the team official places a bouquet of red roses in each place.

Soon, a large contingent of media moved to the cave conference room in the bowels of the arena, a place that is usually reserved for press conferences during the playoffs.Lakers head coach Frank Vogel appears and speaks to the crowd, wearing a black KB pin on his shirt and a pair of Kobe Bryant  signature sneakers. Watching as Vogel says, Lakers vice president of basketball Rob Pelinka, former Bryant Kobe Bryant only stands there for a second while Vogel speaks. Then he disappears into the back room

The staples of the center seats are empty four hours before the start of bathing, with the exception of almost 19,000 Lakers t-shirts thrown over each chair – half with number 24, half with number 8. The light in the house is turned off. On the center court, one spotlight illuminates the Los Angeles Philharmonic cellist Ben Hong, who sits on a bench in a black shirt and trousers and rehearses a beautiful performance of Hallelujah. Directly above him on the video card is a tribute to Bryant. 

High in the rafters, in the far corner, where the Lakers jerseys hang, Bryant’s numbers are flooded with purple light. A scoreboard and clock with the inscription 24.2 is a tribute to the numbers of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Jannah.

Ten minutes later, “Ko-be!”

Live where thousands of people gather. The air is filled with scented candles that have been burning since Sunday.

Wherever you go, a message is written for Bryant. The space is full, but strangers apologize if they collide with each other. They share stories about watching Bryant’s play. On the LED screens is a photograph of Bryant and Gianna smiling from their seats in the front row at a basketball game. The text reads: “Rest in Peace, Kobe and Gianna Bryant”, as well as the names of seven other victims of the helicopter crash: John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alissa Altobelli,

In the arena, preparations continue.Two hours before the scheduled end of the meeting, the team official walks to two unoccupied seats at the entrance directly opposite the Lakers bench and throws Kobe Bryant Lakers uniforms No. 24 on top of one, and Mamba Academy jersey No. 2 on the other. Another official tells a pair of nearby guards that they should not leave their posts unless someone releases them.Kobe and Gianna last sat in these places on December 30, when the Lakers hosted the Dallas Mavericks and Bryant, which spoke in the trash, in Slovenian. Along with T-shirts, the team official places a bouquet of red roses in each place.

Soon, a large contingent of media moved to the cave conference room in the bowels of the arena, a place that is usually reserved for press conferences during the playoffs.Lakers head coach Frank Vogel appears and speaks to the crowd, wearing a black KB pin on his shirt and a pair of Kobe signature sneakers. Watching as Vogel says, Lakers vice president of basketball Rob Pelinka, former Bryant agent and Gianna’s godfather. His face looks exhausted and heavy, on the verge of tears.Pelink only stands there for a second while Vogel speaks. Then he disappears into the back room. 

Returning to the site, the players continue to warm up, and more and more media representatives, team officials and league leaders gather around the site. Many hugs are exchanged, as are the stories of Kobe Bryant, including from Joe Rogowski.Back in the summer of 2008, Rogowski, then Orlando Magic strength and fitness coach, got a call from the team’s general manager and said that the player wants to use the gym at 6 a.m. the next day. Could Rogovsky let him in? 

Rogovsky was surprised. The next morning he arrived at the institution, and there was Bryant, who was on vacation with his family, but who wanted to work out before visiting the theme parks with his wife and daughters. Bryant, who participated in the NBA Finals in the Boston Celtics Finals, participated in one-hour weightlifting, weightlifting and one-hour shooting. He thanked Rogovsky and asked if he could come in the next three days. Rogovsky said yes, of course. 

After that, Bryant sent Rogovsky several pairs of sneakers and greeted him by name whenever they crossed paths. The following summer, Rogowski Magic met with Bryant and the Lakers in the finals – and Bryant won by winning his fourth NBA title.“Hey, Bryant, as always, got involved,” thought Rogowski. “He deserved it.”Towards the end, the JaVale McGee Lakers Center begins to playfully exchange the ball with fans in the stands on both sides of the court. Cheers and laughter are heard.

 

After the musical gifts, the microphone belongs to Lawrence Tunter, who in the 37th season acts as the announcer of the Lakers.

Tunter’s solid baritone is as reliable as the Los Angeles sunlight. But when his voice permeates the arena, talking about the “unthinkable tragedy” that claimed nine lives on Sunday, something happens. Tanter’s voice begins to subtly interrupt, as if something is wrong. For those who have been visiting the Lakers home games for many years, the rarity of the moment is obvious.For about six minutes in the first quarter, Lon Rosen hugs Pelinka next to the court. Rosen is a longtime agent for Magic Johnson.

 

Until Sunday, not a single moment shocked the Lakers and the NBA as much as the announcement in November 1991 that Johnson tested positive for HIV. But Johnson survived, and Bryant suddenly left, noting the hard line between the two events. 

During the break, Rosen puts both hands on Pelinki’s shoulders, pulling him to him while he speaks in Pelinka’s ear for several minutes. Two people are now connected in a way that only they can know.When Rosen says, Pelinka nods, his gaze fixed on the ground, it seemed at the edge of tears all the time. Later in the quarter, Pelinka returns to a place near the tunnel behind the Lakers bench. He holds both of his little daughter Emery tight with both hands and sets her on her knees.

Lakers guard Quinn Cook returns to the court some time after losing. Girls from the pond dressed in T-shirts with Bryant numbers leave the arena with bouquets of pink roses. Passing through the corridors of the Staples Center to the loading platform, they walk under a large sign that usually indicates which teams will play this night, but instead says: “REST IN THE WORLD, KOBA AND GIGI”.

Vogel turns to the media again. In the first half, he played 13 players, most of whom were connected in the first half over the past 20 seasons.

 



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